Sunday, November 6, 2011

Summer Adventures: Part 3 (Trip to Vegas and home again)

Sorry it took so long to get this post up, but two things have been holding me back.

1. Truthfully, I'm just having a hard time remembering exactly what happened right after Mercedes was born. It was a busy summer!
and 2. Rowan has gone with a running start and hit right smack into the Terrible I mean Terrific Two's...with a vengeance. Sadly she is nearly as stubborn as her Mom so we're working on a battle of wills at our house. PS - I'll tell you the end of that story real quick...I always win. ;)

Another sleepy picture, I know, but she's just so cute when she's sleeping.

Sooooooooo, anyway...
After Mercedes was born (on Thursday morning) the rest of that day we relaxed and had some visitors. I don't remember exactly who came on what day but we saw lots of family and friends and we greatly appreciated it! In that aspect it might even have been better that we delivered in Utah because we could have more friends and family meet Mercedes :)
So, Thursday was the day we were planning on driving down to Vegas, then we would have Friday to hang out with family, and Saturday for the wedding. So most of the family drove down on Thursday except for Mom and Tiffani (they were sticking with us to help us out), and Tia Silvia stayed in Utah too because my Uncle Reese (her husband) had just had heart surgery.
Our plan was to leave Friday (the next day) and stay in Las Vegas (we already had a hotel reservation from months before), and from Las Vegas drive home to Arizona, and of course going to the wedding in between.

The only problem was that the hospital pediatrician didn't want us to leave yet. Since I was in Utah for the last month of my pregnancy I hadn't taken a certain Hep test. Well, I thought I had taken it so before I delivered they asked me about it and I said "Yes, I think I did. And if I did it was negative." Well, when they got the copy of my lab work from my midwife's office it turned out that I hadn't and I was thinking of Rowan's birth. Usually if they don't know if you are Hep positive or negative, or if you are positive they hook you up to an IV with antibiotics for 4 hours prior to delivery (how they figure out 4 hours prior to delivery I have no idea), but since I thought I had taken the test they didn't bother, and even if they had bothered there wouldn't have been enough time because I delivered so fast. This is all what the Ped Dr told me. SO, he said we had two options. We could do a blood test on Mercedes and see if she had the Hep, but it was about 50% inaccurate and if it read positive they'd have to keep her for days, OR we could stay another night and he would come in early (it was even his day off) and check on her for symptoms and if she looked fine we could go. Of course we went with option 2 and stayed one more night.

The next morning he checked her and gave the all clear and we left for Mom and Dad's house where
we packed up, but got going a little later than we wanted to, and left for Las Vegas in two cars. Mom's car with Tiffani and Rowan, and our car with Ben, Mercedes and I. One of us always had to sit in the back and make sure her head didn't flop down too far during the drive because she was still so little and new.

Our stop at a park in Cedar City, UT

The drive took longer than we thought because Rowan was very anxious, energetic, and moody that we had to stop several times to let her out and run around. Then when we finally got to Vegas Mom's GPS (don't trust 'em) took us in a totally wrong direction, THEN we had to pull over because our car was smelling like gas fumes. And by the way it was VERY hot outside. So we all sat in Mom's car with the AC running while Ben talked on the phone with my uncle who's a mechanic when suddenly....Mom's AC quits. At this point I'm thinking "Are we not supposed to be here?!" While driving we already knew we would miss the wedding because it was at 1pm, but the reception was going to start in like an hour so we wanted to get to the hotel fast! My uncle said it should be fine to drive the car and we finally made it to the hotel where my sister Michelle was waiting!!!! She lives in Kentucky so I rarely see her. Our family got to our rooms and got ready and the reception had already started but we had to change. Then Mercedes was fussy and hungry so before we left I fed her and waited until she was happy because she was more important than the reception. We finally got there right before it ended and said hello to the happy couple and gave hugs to everyone and sat down to eat a little something, then the newlyweds were gone, and we were tired so we went back to the hotel and went to sleep....for a little while because Mercedes got really upset for part of the night so I didn't really sleep much. But I was just so happy to have her in my arms and not be pregnant any more, and to feel so good, that I didn't care much. It seemed that we didn't get much time to spend at the actual event we were trying so hard to get to, but it was okay. I'm just glad we made it to see Dalein and Bryant on their happy day. But I didn't even get a picture of them, so I'll just tell you they were happy, glowing and gorgeous. :)

At the wedding reception at Bryant's parents home in Henderson.

It was funny that so many people were saying things to me like: "Wow, you just had a baby! What are you doing here?!" "You're a pioneer woman! You could have a baby and get out and pull your cart !" or "Aren't you sore and tired??"
Nope. Not really. :)
My body had felt so bogged down at the end of the pregnancy that after the birth was the first time I was finally feeling good! Plus it was a natural birth (without a single needle), so I was able to get up faster after the birth and get my body going quicker than I would have with an epidural.

I did overdue it however. When we were carrying luggage from the hotel room to the car I was walking fast and carrying a lot of weight, and sometimes Rowan too, that my SPD flared up during the trip, but other than that I felt great!

Rowan being a little sass to Grandma at the Denny's in the Hotel/Casino, and yes that dress is too small for her. It was actually for Mercedes, but accidentally got picked out for her when Grandma was helping her get dressed.
So, we got all packed up and ready to get on our way and I was SO excited because Michelle was coming with us! So we got an extra day with her! Even though I don't like the drive from Vegas to Arizona (very bland and boring) it was okay because we had fun being together and switching cars from time to time. At one point we had to stop on the side of the road because Mercedes was hungry and there was nowhere else to stop, and while she was eating Mom got some bad news. She was on the phone looking a little panicked when she came and told us that Uncle Reese had had a stroke.
He had been recovering from his heart surgery in the hospital and wasn't supposed to be released until Monday, but he was healing so well that they told him they would send him home a day early. On the way home he had a stroke in the car and so they went back to the hospital and found where the blood clot was in his brain then did surgery on his brain to remove the clot, but it took longer than they had anticipated so apparently because they had him opened up for so long trying to get the clot it did some more damage and half of his brain was completely dead. He would never walk or speak again. This is all as I understood it from the messages that were relayed to me from my cousin Pati's texts to my Mom. So, we all had him in our prayers as we kept driving on our way home.

Rowan and Tiffani playing the piano

The next morning Michelle flew home. She was flying standby and the flights didn't look good at all, but she made all her connections and got home alright. Another blessing we were grateful for. ...although we were sad she had to go so soon. :(

 There's my beautiful sister next to that chubby just-had-a-baby-lady ;)
I can't believe we didn't get any pictures together, but it was a busy day.

Mom and Tiffani stayed and were such a huge help! We mostly needed help with Rowan because Mercedes was a sleeper and a piece of cake, but Rowan was still wound up from the big trip. After a while (I think it was a few days, but I don't remember, this part is kinda fuzzy) Ben went back to Texas to work and Mom, Tiffani, the girls and I stayed and hung out. I felt bad because we couldn't go out and do anything fun, but it was nice to be together. We kept getting updates on Reeses' condition and over the next week (I believe) his condition got worse. Prior to his heart surgery he had made it clear to Tia Silvia that he didn't want to live that way, being incapable, so she took him home and hospice came in to make sure he was comfortable, and he passed away.

While Mom and Tiffani were here there was a big Haboob (huge desert duststorm) that swept through and this is what our cars looked like after.

Although I didn't know him very well, I did know him for a long time and he was usually quiet in the family gatherings, but you could sense a great strength and goodness from just being around him. He looked like his own kind of cowboy, and very much a gentleman. He raised three families and all of them loved him very much. I'm so glad that my Tia had him for the time she did, and that he was a part of our family. We miss you Uncle Reese!

Rowan in Mom's car on the way to Utah. Tiffani was such a good sport and sat between the two carseats
the whole 11 hour drive back up to UT!

 Rowan and Mom at the hotel in Mesquite

Back to our traveling story. Once we found out when the funeral was going to be we made a plan to head back up to Utah. We drove caravan with my cousin Anika and four of her kids as well. We stopped and slept in Mequite, NV then continued the next day. There was a beautiful funeral service and at the grave site two of my cousins (Tirsa and Arisa) and I sang "This is the Christ" a capella. Then, because he had been in the Navy (pretty sure it was the Navy) they had a flag ceromony and a bugle tribute as well. It was really special. One thing I remember clearly and that I loved was that my Tia Silvia was wearing a lovely peach/pink dress outfit, and not black. It seemed more a celebration of his life than a mourning for his death, and I could really tell she was at peace. :)

Rowan, Mercedes and I spent a couple days in Utah, then drove back to Arizona with Anika. It was by far the easiest drive I've ever made with Rowan because they had personal DVD players on the back of the headrests and almost the whole drive she watched Micky Mouse and was happy as could be! Thank goodness! And a big thank you to Anika's two girls for helping out with Rowan and Mercedes. Giving bottles and snacks, etc.

Rowan and Ethan (my cousin Anika's little boy)

If anyone has read all this, wow! And thank you! I don't blame you if you need to stop now, or maybe take a break ;)
After we got home, we had one day by ourselves (me and the girls), then Ben's parents, and Rebecca came. I told you this was a busy summer.
This was during the weekend (Saturday I think) and Ben wouldn't be back until the next Wednesday. So, his family and the girls and I had a good time hanging out, and they were so helpful! I was blessed with so many helpers this summer! I am so grateful!
Sunday after church we were hanging out in the house and I was really missing Ben because I hadn't had much time with him since he first left for Texas and we had so much going on with the delivery and traveling. So, while we are all chatting in the family room I suddenly see a guy in our back yard and he comes up to the back door (which has a glass window). At first I think "Should I get the gun?" then I realize it's my scruffy mountain man come home early to surprise me!!! I was so happy I jumped up and ran to him! Then our friend Laura came in (who had driven him home from the airport).

On the left is a huge fountain at Fountain Hills that we took the Schultz to see. It's much bigger than it looks in the pic.
And Lois with Mercedes on the right :)

That week we went several times over to my In-law's time-share (where they were staying) and ate and watched movies and swam in the pool there. Rowan had a BLAST! She's such a water baby.  And we always have a good time when the Schultz come to town :)

After they left Ben left not long afterward, to be gone a week. It was kind of nice just the girls and me...for the first few days. We got a lot done and had a good time, then it started getting stressful because my milk started depleting and Mercedes was having a hard time taking the bottle at night, so I was up until 4 in the morning several times with a screaming baby, then up all day with an energetic and moody near-two year old. My patience was wearing VERY thin and I begged Ben to come home. I had planned on him being gone a week, but it ended up being just over a week and each day things were worse with my attitude and therefore Rowan's as well :( This time I was missing Ben because I really needed him. I needed him to help me with the girls not to mention my sanity. So Ben came home and we were all a pretty happy family again. Soon he started back to his usual job and then school and the summer was over all so fast. It was a great time. A memorable summer I will never forget (except those fuzzy parts, hehe). And at this point of Mercedes' life she was about 1 month old and already had over 2100 miles of traveling on her! Phew!

If you read all of that, wow, well done! Give me your address and I'll send you a prize! :)